Samuel Jones Loyd (1796-1883), first Baron Overstone, had an influence over cabinets and chancellors of the exchequer and the running and the laws of the Bank of England. Besides his own banking interests which made him one of the richest men in England, and his many tracts on currency and banking subjects, his library in Reading (which included over 10,000 volumes from his friend J.R. McCulloch) has become a major resource for economic scholars worldwide. This text provides a transcription of some 923 letters to and from Lord Overstone between 1804 and 1883. Overstone maintained that he had destroyed his correspondence before he died. The editor's discovery of some 350 in 1964 now offers an understanding of Overstone, a figure important in 19th-century currency debates, and an active director of the Bank of England for over 50 years. Correspondents include J.R. McCullogh, Robert Torrens, and George Warde Norman. With biographical sketches of all named people included in the footnotes, plus introductions, appendices, and indices, this collection forms a source for the understanding of 19th-century banking and political economy in Britain.
Volume 1 (June 1884-September 1849) includes all the introductory material, an index to the biographical sketches, the editorial introduction, biographical information about Overstone and an essay on his thought, and the first 197 letters. Volume 2 (September 1849-December 1861) includes the correspondence between Overstone and a variety of figures. Volume 3 (December 1861-1883) features further correspondence, and 19 appendices reproducing papers by Overstone and others on financial matters, and an index. The letters are chronologically arranged and coded to denote the following principal subject areas: currency, monetary problems, and the level of activity; decimal coinage; politics (domestic and foreign); personal and social; pauperism and distress; public finance; Political Economy Club; trade policy; peerage; London University; statistics; limited liability; sale of Jones Loyds; and savings banks.